Justyn Schlegel
Justyn Schlegel
A Neshoba County man found him guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his cellmate nearly two years ago will be sentenced later this month.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before finding Justyn M. Schlegel, 36,  of 11500 Road 571, guilty in the death of Rexdale Wayne Henry, 53, of 158 Bogue Chitto Dr., on July 14, 2015.

Henry’s body was found in his cell in the Neshoba County Jail shortly after 10 a.m. on July 14. He had been seen alive earlier that morning.

The state charged that Schlegel beat Henry to death in the cell.

Circuit Court Judge Chris Collins will sentence Schlegel in Decatur on Nov. 27 at 1 p.m.

The key evidence in the state’s case came from the testimony of Dr. Mark Levaughn, the state's chief medical examiner, who performed an autopsy on Henry’s body.

The defense charged that Henry’s injuries were sustained after he was pushed back into his concrete cell on three different occasions by two jailers and a deputy prior to spending his last hours with Schlegel.

Dr. Levaughn testified that Henry died from multiple blunt force trauma. He told the jury that he suffered six rib fractures on one side of his body and seven rib fractures on the other.

Two of the ribs were fractured twice.  He also had a lacerated spleen and lacerations of the diaphragm.

Dr. Levaughn testified that Schlegel could not have lived more than five hours after suffering those injuries.

Assistant District Attorney Chris Posey told the jury in closing arguments that they didn’t have to watch six days of video from the jail to know that  “Schlegel is the only one that could have done this.”

Posey said there was no way that pushes by the jailers and deputy could have caused his injuries.

He told the jurors that Dr. Levaughn had performed 10,000 autopsies in his 30-year career.

Defense attorney Rosalind Jordan of Kosciusko argued before the jury that Henry was “clearly suffering, clearly ill” in the days leading up to his death.

She reminded jurors of testimony and video which showed two jailers and one deputy pushing Henry inside his cell, saying those pushes inside the concrete cell could have resulted in his injuries.

She said the District Attorney’s theory that Schlegel beat Henry to death “borders on being ludicrous. It’s the most insane thing I have heard. Why would he want to kill him? What motive did he have for wanting to harm Mr. Henry? Nothing.”

Jordan disputed Dr. Levaughn’s findings, telling the jury that just because he is a doctor doesn’t mean he is infallible.

She also told the jury that an investigator from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations “was selective” in what video from the jail she showed to Levaughn during the investigation.

“Dr. Levaughn never heard there had been pushes a few days earlier,” she said.

In his closing arguments, Posey told the jury that the pushes by the jailers didn’t line up to the medical evidence in the case.

He said Jordan had performed “zero autopsies in her life” and that Dr. Levaughn was the only expect.

“But Dr. Rosalind Jordan says, ‘I think he is probably wrong this time.”